A dying man gathered his best friends – a lawyer, doctor and clergyman – at his bedside and handed each of them an envelope containing $25,000 in cash. He made them each promise that after his death and during his repose, they would place the three envelops in his coffin. He told them that he wanted to have enough money to enjoy the next life.
A week later the man died. At the wake, the lawyer and doctor and clergyman each concealed an envelope in the coffin and bid their old client and friend farewell.
By chance, these three met several months later. Soon the clergyman, feeling guilty, blurted out a confession saying that there was only $10,000 in the envelope he placed in the coffin. He felt, rather than waste all the money, he would send it to a mission in South America. He asked for their forgiveness.
The doctor, moved by the gentle Clergyman’s sincerity, confessed that he too had kept some of the money for a worthy medical charity. The envelope, he admitted, had only $8000 in it. He said he too could not bring himself to waste the money so frivolously when it could be used to benefit others.
By this time the Lawyer was seething with self-righteous outrage. He expressed his deep disappointment in the felonious behavior of two of his oldest and most trusted friends. “I am the only one who kept my promise to our dying friend. I want you both to know that the envelope I placed in the coffin contained the full amount.
The other men looked down in embarrassment and the lawyer continued, “Indeed, only I honored the deathbed wishes of our great friend. My envelope contained my personal check for the entire $25,000.”